Savvy Selling's Michelle Nichols' recent column about work, family, the loss of her young son to cancer, and the need to draw a firm line between the demands of the office and obligations of the home inspired hundreds of letters from readers. Quite a few remarked that her moving perspective had led them to alter their own priorities (see BW Online, "The Illusory Work-Family Equation"). What follows are some of those responses:
THANKS so much for passing along this insight; I couldn't agree with you more. As a 34-year-old professional with a wife and two young kids, I'm learning the vital importance of drawing lines like the ones you recommend. "I am a limited resource" has become a mantra of mine. As you say, I think the secret to living well is to draw the right lines in the right places and defend them 100 percent. If you've drawn them wisely, you should be able to hold your ground with confidence and conviction.
Finally, let me extend my sympathies and well wishes to you and your family as you commemorate Mark's time with you. Thanks for having the courage to use this tragedy as a lesson for the rest of us. I hope
everybody is paying attention out there. -- D.F., Tulsa
THANK you so much for your insightful and timely article. For the past two days, I've been wrestling with fate of my business because my son appears to be failing in school and may have attention deficit disorder. Providentially perhaps, this morning I decided not to sell the business but to delegate more and reduce my scheduled hours at the office. -- R.W. D., Chicago
I JUST read your article about balancing work and family. Thank you for your insight. It was powerful and right to the point. Reading it provides validation to the importance of family, and it helps me to refocus on what's important. Articles like yours are extremely important. They help us to keep going. -- J.A., Pa.
I have been enjoying your columns and sharing them with business to business sales professional colleagues for several months now. Yesterday's column hurt to read. I am the father of an 8-year-old boy and a 4-year-old girl. I cannot begin to fathom the pain you have experienced. I don't think I would be worth very much if that happened to me -- I am no Abraham, my faith would fail the test. In any event, my appreciation for you increased a notch, not because of your personal loss, but because you still bring value to me and to so many other blessed readers, in spite of your personal loss. -- R.P.
YOU did a fine job with your article about the work/family relationship. Most such articles are totally non-helpful - "set your priorities", and such. They don't adequately address the valid and important reasons so many of us devote so much time, effort, and mental energy to our jobs, and they often make us feel guilty for the fact that we actually do want to be at work some of the time. Thanks for a more realistic approach. -- D.R., Mo.
THANKS for your honesty and insights. This is an issue I deal with all the time. With a 2-year-old, plus a 6-week-old, it's difficult, if not impossible, to have either work or family receive its fair share of time. But, I really enjoy our kids and spend as much time as possible with them. I'm keeping the story of your son in the back of my mind to remind me why family comes first. My oldest will be 2 next month, and I can't believe it has arrived so soon. It goes by so fast that I definitely don't want to look back and say I should have done it differently -- and I don't think I will! -- J.C.
THE column was excellent advice. I play golf with a number of guys who are in their late 60s and 70s, who are much more involved with their grandchildren than they ever were with their kids as they grew up. I think they're making up for lost time. -- M.D.